Kerry Washington: I’d be a waitress instead of the main character in the movie ‘Bad’
“Even early in my career, I would say I’d rather work another shift at a restaurant than make a movie that’s going to be bad for women or bad for black people.”
Kerry Washington has no qualms about returning to her former restaurant job if Hollywood only offers harmful roles for representation.
The “Scandal” alum has stood by his convictions for decades, and recently said so Marie Claire in a cover story that she approaches her career without fear.
“Even early in my career, I would say I’d rather work another shift at a restaurant than make a movie that’s going to be bad for women or bad for black people,” Washington said. “Part of being an artist, a creative person, is that you’re constantly ready to be a beginner and do things you’ve never done before, put yourself in situations you’ve never been in, stretch, grow. I’m so attracted to this kind of work, but it’s also pretty damn scary.”
Washington believed ABC’s Shonda Rhimes-created flagship series “Scandal” was “something transformative and culturally significant.” The founder of production company Simpson Street uses his status as a producer to greenlight projects that “try to expand our vocabulary of the look and feel of one main character and subvert the idea of another,” adapting series such as “Little Fires Everywhere.”
The ‘American Son’ actress previously starred in the ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that in addition to working in a restaurant and as a yoga teacher, she returned to substitute teaching after “Save the Last Dance,” despite it being her “first big movie.”
“I wasn’t paying a lot of money,” Washington said, “so after the movie came out, I went back to substitute teach for a while. Then I had to make a rule that I don’t work in high schools. I was only able to finish primary school because the children went to class to watch Chenille teach French. So it was bad. I went into a school and saw all these kids outside the window trying to see that girl from Save the Last Dance.
The “Django Unchained” star spoke about the lead, controversial Quentin Tarantino slave revenge film in 2012, calling the script an “intense, original and important” project at the time. “I thought I had never seen anything like this before and it had to be made. I didn’t know if I was the right person to do it because it totally scared me,” Washington admitted to IndieWire. “I was afraid of the places I had to go emotionally and psychologically as an artist.”
He added: “I remember turning to Jamie (Foxx) one day and saying, ‘If this movie goes on for another week, I’m not going to make it.’ My parents came down and my manager at some point because they were worried. It was very tough. I think one of the things I walked away with was that I was more grateful than ever for the people who survived that period, because I feel like we barely survived that period for nine months. I have to go home, shower every night, eat a good dinner, and call my therapist.”
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